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CHAPTER THREE
SUBCULTURE

If the elders wish to put certain Nosferatu through their paces (perhaps in preparation for a mission), two or more Nosferatu might be asked to acquire the same item. Occasionally, mortals or even other vampires are included on a Nosferatu’s list of “items.”

One stipulation of the aranta-shadur is that all items must be acquired without the knowledge of the owner. The hunt is a test of stealth and cunning, not the ability to mug hapless victims and take their possessions. This stipulation does not, obviously, apply when the “item” in question is a living being.

As with a mundane scavenger hunt, she who acquires the most items on her list by the deadline (usually sunrise) wins the hunt. Following the hunt’s completion, most items are returned (the Nosferatu are not Ravnos, after all! ); the return of an item must be equally surreptitious. Sentient beings are simply Dominated to forget the events of the evening.

NOSFERATU ART

The pursuit of art is often associated with the Toreador clan, yet many strange forms of art have arisen among the Nosferatu. Nosferatu artwork is made all the more bizarre by the fact that its creators expect few, or no, viewers; indeed, many of the most magnificent Nosferatu pieces are summarily hidden away or placed in chambers of absolute darkness, never again to be viewed. Art for the Nosferatu is an object lesson.

Nosferatu enjoy sculpture and have the raw materials for the practice. They ingeniously combine sheet metal, discarded electrical wire and rusted piping into truly wondrous creations. Certain sculptures are beautiful, while others are deliberately grotesque; all are exceedingly strange. Ample leisure time and superhuman strength allow Nosferatu artists to create works using materials of a size and weight impossible for humans to manipulate. Nosferatu from all over the world journey to Peru to view (and traverse) the “Escalera,” an enormous, spiraling sculpture of pipes and tubing that bridges a chasm deep beneath the streets of Lima

One Nosferatu innovation is the “sound room.” This is an oddly shaped chamber designed to create all manner of echoes and other bizarre acoustic effects. Nosferatu “singers” stand in the middle of the room. By making different noises and directing the voice at different areas of the sound room, all manner of eerie reverberations can be produced. Multi-Nosferatu arias rival the Toreador’s creations in beauty and far surpass them in weirdness.

The sound room, like many creations of the Nosferatu, also has a practical use. All manner of auditory illusions can be created therein to mislead enemies.

The water chamber, another Nosferatu work, is similar to the sound room in many respects. A large, cavernous area is dug beneath water-bearing pipes. Various drums, metal plates, and other reverberating objects are placed at different heights on the floor. Water is then leaked from the pipes, either via condensation or the chiseling of minute cracks. Meticulous care is taken to ensure that each drop from a given location is the exact same size and that the drops fall in a steady rhythm. As the different drops of water fall at different rhythms onto different surfaces, the cavern amplifies and carries the sounds, producing a concerto unknown to the surface world.

Nor are the Nosferatu limited to inanimate media. Despite their subterranean abodes, Nosferatu practice certain forms of horticulture. Over the centuries, the clan has bred and hybridized various sorts of fungi, splicing one with the other to produce species unknown to mortals. Some of these monster mushrooms tower as high as small trees. Some Nosferatu shape fungi in a fashion reminiscent of bonsai carving, while others prefer to let fungi grow as they will. These gardens often become expansive jungles of weird phosphorescent beauty. Slime molds, enormous moths an the like ooze and whir through the depths, just as birds and beasts traverse the terrestrial jungle.

It is rumored that the Sabbat Nosferatu of New York routinely kidnap mortals and drag them down to their subterranean forests. There, the vampires force the victims to ingest lethal quantities of various hallucinogenic fungi.

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